HVAC Benefits: How Air Conditioning can Limit the Effects on Hardwood Floors

effects on hardwood floorsWhen it comes to minimizing negative effects on hardwood floors, your air conditioning system can be an important ally. Wood is a natural living material that interacts with environmental conditions. This fact extends to the relationship between wooden floors and conditions inside your home, as well— specifically indoor humidity.

Here’s how humidity exerts effects on hardwood floors and how your A/C can help maintain the aesthetics and durability of this natural material.

Humidity vs. Hardwood

Because hardwood floors react to humidity, water vapor content in indoor air matters. When humidity levels in the house are frequently above 50% or below 30%, wood reacts in certain ways that aren’t conducive to the appearance or function of the floor.

High Humidity

In conditions of high humidity, wood absorbs dampness and expands. The flat, smooth appearance of the floor may be distorted as adjacent boards swell against each other and cupping or buckling occurs. The indoor evaporator coil incoporated in a central air conditioner removes water vapor to make cooling more effective and efficient. To optimize this important function:

  • Ensure that the A/C is operating up to manufacturer’s specifications, including humidity extraction, by scheduling an annual tune-up by a qualified HVAC service provider.
  • Replace the A/C air filter monthly during the cooling season to support effective humidity control in the air conditioning process.

Low Humidity

Humidity below 30% can cause dimensional shrinkage in hardwood floors. As wood shrinks, gaps may appear between adjoining boards and at the ends of boards. Also, dry wood is less sturdy and may split or splinter more easily. Your HVAC system can also help supplement humidity when levels are too low.

  • Indoor humidity can be maintained during dry conditions by utilizing a whole-house humidifier. Installed inside the HVAC system ductwork, the unit automatically adds water vapor to system airflow to meet desired humidity settings.
  • As an alternative, individual room humidifiers can be placed in rooms where hardwood flooring is installed.

For professional advice and service since 1922, Terre Haute homeowners have turned to Paitson Bros. Ask us for more information about HVAC effects on hardwood floors.

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